Customs and Environmental Policies

Customs and Environmental Policies

Environmental issues have whole-of-government implications as well as ramifications beyond national borders. As the world’s governments seek to tackle global problems, the number and range of environmental policies involving international trade and Customs administrations are expected to increase. 

Considering border issues early in policy development can significantly improve the effectiveness of agreements. In this respect, Customs is the primary border agency.

In this connection, the WCO supports its Members in implementing and enforcing environmental policy by conducting research, providing capacity building and sharing best practices. It also encourages Customs administrations to strengthen the existing cooperative arrangements with environmental authorities and other agencies to ensure a coordinated approach, or to develop new cooperative arrangements as required.

Furthermore, the WCO has been strengthening its engagement with other intergovernmental organizations working to develop environmental policy at international level. It also provides insights on how the environmental policy being developed may relate to Customs and what the policy should include to ensure that the necessary border measures can be implemented.

Key documents

WCO Position Paper on Green Customs (Members only)
The Position Paper describes the role of Customs in supporting and implementing environmental measures.
WCO Green Customs Action Plan
The Green Customs Action Plan set out a clear vision on what Customs could contribute to the global green agenda and provide some specific initial deliverables at the WCO.
WCO Green Customs Action Plan (Members only)
The Green Customs Action Plan set out a clear vision on what Customs could contribute to the global green agenda and provide some specific initial deliverables at the WCO.
Visualising a greener HS symposia – Report
The Report presents comments on the outcomes of the symposia series on "Visualising a greener HS” organized by the WCO with the financial support of the EU from October 2022 to January 2023.
Guidance on how to submit a Harmonized System Change Proposal
This guide is aimed to support the ongoing work of administrations and intergovernmental organizations in making proposals to make the HS even greener in its future editions.
WCO Customs Enforcement Handbook on Circular Economy (Members only)
The Handbook provides examples of a range of environmental laws and other legislations contributing to circular economy goals, including in particular legislation related to Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and their enforcement.
WCO Frontline Customs Officers’ Guide to Key Multilateral Environmental Agreements (Members only)
This Guide is intended to supply condensed information to frontline Customs officers on key aspects related to key Multilateral Environmental Agreements: Basel Convention, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Cartagena Protocol, Chemical Weapons Convention, and Montreal Protocol. It should be read in conjunction with the Green Customs Guide on Multilateral Environmental Agreements.


Green Customs Global Conference (27-28 June 2022) - Summary report
The Report summarizes the insights and results from the Green Customs Global Conference organized by the WCO on 27 and 28 June 2022 at WCO headquarters in Brussels.